Does runway fashion have a place on the high street?

Here’s to anyone who has ever quickly popped onto Instagram during fashion week to catch up with some of the shows and been presented with styles that look so misshapen you wondered if you were holding your phone upside down!

The catwalk remains the birthplace of many of the trends that we see translated into everyday street style but sometimes, it would seem to break the mould a little too much. A quick Google search trying to make sense of the clothes lands you on Vogue’s website where copious collections of outrageous styles are photographed and almost satirically titled “ready to wear”. With few of these trends actually appearing in their true from around us the temptation to dismiss them as pretentious and useless befalls us all, but in reality, these overt expressions of creativity covertly inform much of the fashion we see worn every day.

In the Autumn-Winter show of 2017, Adam Selman wowed audiences with his fused inspirations of embroidered denim and 70’s disco, culminating in the appearance of a model wearing a pair of black shiny straight-legged trousers, completely topless apart from a strategic placed enormous bunch of roses.

What may have first looked like an unnecessary spectacle in fact added excitement, and creating a half natural, half synthetic ensemble which, in this raw form, had the potential to inspire everyday fashion. Though the overzealous bouquet would look a little out of place in Norwich marketplace, the combination of the rodeo metallic jeans and an oversized floral blouse from Topshop wouldn’t. It’s all about taking the hyperbole of a designer and toning it down to your own level.

The creative choices made by the directors are made with adaptability in mind. The unusual elements invite interpretation, they are empty spaces – or not so empty in some cases – for ordinary people to fill the blanks. The runway, although at time an ineffable display, provides endless opportunity for the creation of your own unique style.

Alongside this, the peculiarities of the catwalk are a joy to witness for their entertainment value in itself. Gucci’s Spring-Summer 2018 Gucci Hallucination show was a fantastic journey in abstract exploration. Spanish artist Ignasi Moreal’s surreal drawings depicted the season’s pieces reworked into traditional pieces of art such as John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, preceding the release of the entire collection with a synthesis of historic illustrations and futuristic outfits. By the time it came for the catwalk show itself, consumers were already wellversed in Gucci’s ambiguous clash of old and new and came prepared to both enjoy the runway as a performance, and inform their own tastes with the innovative designs.

So, whether the more out-there of the runway shows seem either completely alien to you, or the result of genius, they are worth it for the way that they challenge the norms of style and take artistic expression to the very extreme. Fashion must start somewhere, and even if it takes a model wearing a balaclava resembling a crumpled duvet to trigger it, the interpretations of runway fashion that result in everyday style can be priceless.


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August 2022
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